Sunday, June 3, 2012

Giant Mexican hyssop

I have loved growing agastache for some years, now, and am trying to remember where it all started. It may have been on a plant-buying trip out to the North Fork of Long Island, back in the day, when I was designing gardens for Holly, Wood and Vine. I do remember stopping in my tracks in a sea of blue and lilac flowers. I used agastache often in designs where grasses were a  feature. This SoHo terrace was the first, and then another followed.

Black Adder became one of my favourite cultivars on my own terrace, blooming late into the season and always besieged by bees. But this spring it stopped growing. It is a late perennial to wake up after winter, but for some reason it seemed stunted. A recent excavation revealed dead roots and a partially dead crown, perhaps the result of too much moisture. This plant requires impeccable drainage on top of full sun. So I repotted what was left, in hope, and went and found compensation in the form of this lovely Agastache mexicana.  Because the terrace edge is cluttered with pots I need something tall but airy to lighten things up, or it would look claustrophobic. Giant Mexican hyssop - its common name - fits the bill.

It is described as smelling lemony but is in fact very pepperminty, indeed. And bees found it as soon as I set it out on the stone table. It is hardy to Zone 7 but for some reason the label has it listed as an annual. So we shall see.


  1. I grow 'Ava' and "Acapulco Yellow with Rose' in zone 7 with good results so far. The 'Ava' is about four years old and doing wonderfully, while the 'Acapulco' is just coming out of its first winter, but seems to be fine.

    The bees think they are in heaven.

    Hope the 'Black Adder' recovers. it's a beauty.

  2. I first came across Agastache in the southwest. I can't do zones anymore- sometimes meaningless here, sometimes not.

    Beauty of a shot. Much miileage from the wall color!

  3. I too am an Agastache lover. We received Mexicana as a present years ago and now have it in several spots in the garden. We also grow Tutti Frutti but I have just looked up Ava and am in love.

    Damn and I was just at a garden center yesterday....

    xo J.

  4. at your influence, i planted Agastache foeniculum this year. not sure of the variety. it is from fedco.

  5. Mexican hyssop - any of the pinkish-orange A. cana cultivars - is my absolute champion hummingbird annual. Very long-blooming too, well into autumn.


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